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Bath College apprentices head to The Skills Show to compete in national finals

Three apprentices from Bath College will compete at The Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham after performing highly in a challenging set of regional heats.

Attracting thousands of visitors every year, the Skills Show is the UK’s largest skills and careers event. It plays host to the finals of the national SkillFRIDGE competition and the WorldSkills UK national finals.

Adam Jackson, an apprentice with Space Engineering, and Steven Monk, an apprentice with the Bath-based company Ambient Engineering Limited, have both been entered for the SkillFRIDGE finals.

Stonemasonry apprentice Joshua Underwood, is also competing against other stonemasons in the WorldSkills UK national finals after coming third in his regional heat.

Steven, 30, was the winner of the second SkillFRIDGE regional heat, held at Bath College. He said: “We will take it in our stride and do the best we can.

“The competition isn’t going to be easy, but it’s good experience. When you’re working in the industry, every job you do is at a different site and presents itself with different issues, so you have to be adaptable.”

SkillFRIDGE is a national competition for apprentices studying air conditioning and refrigeration from Level 2 to Level 3. Both Steven and Adam, 31, have been part of a training programme organised by Toshiba for SkillFRIDGE finalists.

The programme covered technical knowledge and practical skills in relation to residential and light commercial air conditioning, including installation, servicing and maintenance.

Adam said: “My employer was really pleased to see me get through to the finals. I’m looking forward to networking, seeing some of the new equipment and finding out what’s changing within the industry.

“Our lecturer Simon entered us into the competition because we were the best students he has. We’re showcasing his teaching and the type of students he has. It’s nice to have that sort of confidence in your skills.

“To be picked says something quite positive about us.”

Stonemasonry student Joshua Underwood was in his first year of studying at Bath College when he was picked for the WorldSkills UK national finals.

In March, Joshua, who works as an apprentice at Architectural Stone in Cardiff, was chosen to receive tools from the Worshipful Company of Masons in London as an outstanding first year student.

The 25-year-old said: “In the regional competition at Weymouth, I thought I had done really badly and I came third.

“That was a surprise. I have only been doing this for a year and a half, so there are a lot of mouldings that I haven’t worked on.

“I was one of the last people to start working on the stone in Weymouth, I spent a lot of time doing the templates, marking up the stone and thinking about what it would look like – that approach obviously worked.

“I will be nervous on the morning of the competition, but I’m pleased to be doing well in the trade. It’s great studying at Bath College. Everyone helps each other and everyone is like-minded. I learn a lot here.”

Daisy Walsh, Head of Department for Technology at Bath College, said: “I’m thrilled that our students are able to demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning at Bath College. I wish everyone success at the Skills Show.”

The Skills Show takes place from November 17 to November 19.

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